Monday, November 30, 2009

go with the flow, experts say

i experience my emotions like a hapless swimmer being sucked under and out by the sneaky, silent riptide. gayly bobbing on the surface enjoying the cool of the water against my skin, i think everything is fine. everything is great. perfect. maybe i'm watching the kids play in the sand on the beach, maybe they're snacking in the shade. it is such a delightful day. and, oh my god, how much do i LOVE this water so pretty and clear.

wait, what's that?

then in a heartbeat i'm being pulled - no. sucked into this invisible current that lurks just beneath the surface.

don't panic, they say. go with the flow, the say. panicking and swimming against the current will only tire you out and then you'll be too weak to stay above the surface. and then you'll be - to put it kindly - a goner. so go with the flow. let it take you out and exhaust itself and then you can swim parallel to the shore line and back in.

to belabor this metaphor even more, i have to wonder out loud how it is that i can possibly permit myself to free float into feelings that have no names. i know how to run, er.. swim screaming in the other direction from a shark, even a massive-almost-tidal wave but this. this? it feels too scary to let go. to not-struggle against it. to not push and push and push my way toward the sand where happiness plays.

and yet it is unavoidable. i'm already caught. do these feelings have to have names for me to let them come and let them go? without trying i find that exhaustion comes labeled and easily identifiable. and this turns out to be more than enough to persuade me to relax and go with the flow. to let them carry me knowing - now that i've been told by the Experts - that they will let me go. and i will be free to australian crawl my way back toward safety. toward happy feelings. to sunshine and sandcastles.

even so i can't help but notice that the overwhelming tiredness from the experience makes me feel like i'm dragging a boat behind me.

this is how i experience my emotions. just under the surface, strong and fast. it doesn't mean there is always a silent, invisible monster lurking right there. or here. but when they come, these feelings, they come like rip-tides; like thieves; like a sudden, violent storm. and then they're gone.

and now i am going, going,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ouch. i'm thenthetive.

no matter how hard i try, i can't seem to let go of the one or two comments, the three or ten looks that people have burned me with about how i'm a bad parent because i don't know how to control my son. i've talked about it, processed it, rationalized it but for some reason can't seem to get over it and/or let it go ...all the way.

sooo whenever i'm around people i get a little - antsy? protective? hyper-aware, maybe - of how people are interacting with my son and how people are interacting with me interacting with my son. the breeze just has to nudge the person's face just so and i am smarting on the inside. after a little bit of that, i start doing exactly the thing that i abhor and taking it out on him when i what i really need to do is say 'back TF off, OK?' to the offending party.

i won't go into the elongated version of the diatribe where i talk about how people who don't have exuberant, vim-infused, kinesthetic children have no idea what it's like. in fact, that sentence is the equivalent of the short version. and i don't want one more person to tell me that he's 'just being a boy'. there are millions - no BILLIONS - of boys in the world and all of them are not like each other. all of them are not like my son. as a matter of a fact there are girls who are like ryan. other boys who are like ryan (of course) so the qualifying criteria is not, in fact, anatomical possession of a penis and testicles (or parts thereof).

these are the children that go to school, don't fit in, and end up on ritalin or some such bloody nonsense because people need to label children to cover for the colossal inadequacy of the system. these are the children that get drugged into a drunken stupor that makes them appear to behave "properly" or like other "normal" people. poor, unfortunate souls, as Ursula the sea witch would say.
and while i cannot categorically deny the existence of an actual condition of A.D. anything, i can most assuredly say that i think most of it is bullshit. i am entitled to my opinion and i like it so i'm keeping it especially because i'm right. but my rightness is not what this particular commentary is about.

i can guarandamntee you that if ryan were to attend a regular school and merrily demonstrate his unwillingness (notice i did not say inability) to sit still for the boring drills and pointless memorization these people are subjected to, he would be labeled quicker'n you cin say "SIT DOWN!"

if his way of being is just him 'being a boy' then all boys - like 99% anyway - would get diagnosed, prescribed and medicated.

my stance on the matter doesn't mean that i don't know that your average XY chromosome carrier will more likely want to move his body quite a bit more than your average double Xer.

but with ryan and others like him, it's more than that. more than a desire to climb things while he "watches" tv. (watches tv ... laughing to myself.) it's more than a need to constantly be climbing on anything or any Person (read: me) at anytime. more than a literally insatiable primal urge to hit and destroy things and pose in any number of alleged karate poses while employing and inventing the use of a vast array of invisible assault weapons at all times. i'm not even kidding...or exaggerating.

i find that most people, whether it is a result of my inability to convey or articulate, do not understand this. many people think he needs more "discipline". (i need to let you know that as i typed that, my eyes fell down into the back of my throat, they rolled that far back.) this same 'many people' group either do not have their own children (best givers of parenting advice!) or have uber docile sloth-like children or are maniacal control freaks that have already beaten the spirits out of their own previously Spirited Child. this list is actually one of all the people who have told me about my wanton lack of parenting skills both with their words and their faces.

so you'll have to excuse me if i am a bit thenthitive about my precious boy (only i'm allowed to think he's trouble. nobody else. not really. if you get him, you're allowed but i have to know that you really do get him first.) who Ryan or any of these kids like him is is a truly Spirited Person who knows how he feels, knows what he needs, knows whom to tell about it and is completely Unafraid to do so. how many people can say that?

sure he gets carried away and hits people (namely his sister), grabs things, breaks things, annoys the living Heaven ("heaven" here is personally interpreted as closeness to the Divine) out of me (literally!) but he is still only FOUR. i've been here exactly eight times as long as he has and i still haven't figured out how to stop myself from doing things that i know are not necessarily "great" for me (and sometimes even for other people). so i re-iterate: F-O-U-R: four!

this is the spiel i'd like to spit like nails at the people who tense up and make the body language comments; whose eyes looking for resting places that don't convey their internal monologue of judgment; the people who outright make stupid freakin' comments about his "behavior". either the spiel or good solid whack to side of their heads.

but instead, i feel hurt and frustrated and tired of all of it and i get mad at ryan for being who God made him to be.

so help me, God, to find the words, the ways, the Loving responses to all the parties involved - including me.

but maybe i'm praying the wrong thing. maybe i need to be asking for a wide open heart that provides unconditional acceptance of things that seem hard to bear. and possibly, just maybe those things will have a whole new look.

all the while, staying pretty much the same. which is what it is and is Precisely (i do not use this word lightly) what it needs to be.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Todle Osum Stuff by LaurYn Saoyr

Driven purely by her own interest, Lauryn has taken to spelling words out phonetically, or should I say "funetikale"? She just finds her way to her desk and writes and writes and writes the words that mean something to her.

The greatest fun - besides witnessing her personal discovery of the written word - is figuring out how to pronounce her "funetik" spellings. But some of them are pretty straightforward, like "OPIN".

She also has a tendency to write right to left, and sometimes in mirror image. Stop diagnosing. She's fine. She's SIX! Keep your labels to yourself, please. Thank you! This one - one of the first - says: William Lauryn Scary Movie (SCREE= Scary, MO-OOVE - above = Movie) and it has the scary movie in progress.

She's made a birthday card for our friend Sam and it includes some Originals like "Braoonez" (Brownies) and "Olcates" (All Cats) as well as voluntary copying from the cake mix box.

I don't correct her. I pronounce her words to the best of my ability. And if she asks how to spell a word, I tell her. But she really enjoys saying the sounds out loud to herself and then putting them down on the paper.

I enjoy it too.

Like the way she spelled my name in this one:

And today she spelled "OLUVUS" for All Of Us.

This won't last very long. It will only be a few minutes before I am marveling at her spelling things 'properly' and trying to remember some of the quirky spellings she had.

The very Bestest part of all - the melted chocolate in the centre, the gold star on my worksheet, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the spring of any discontent i may ever experience - is that

i get to be Here to see it all!!!.

THAT is how lucky i am! Lucky Lucky Lucky!

This is so TODLE OSUM!!!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

parenting in the dark

okay, so you've heard me talk a lot about 'home schooling' my kids. i say this to everyone. in any given social situation the question arises: where do your kids go to school?

- oh, we homeschool.
- um.. my kids are homeschooled.
- well... they don't really go to school, we ...homeschool.

these are the sentences i use to tell people that i haven't chosen the same thing as them. that i might possibly be weird. (possibly?? come ON, we know that i'm weird!) that at least on some level, i do not agree with "everybody else".
i always hesitate. i always have a pause - from a nano second to a few beats - before i answer the question which is Exactly the way i answer when people ask me how long i nursed my children.

- err, umm. well... two and a half years ...??? (almost a question). then i shrink into my space as a way of apologizing for doing what i wholeheartedly believe to be Good and Right and True and Normal and Natural for my children and my family.

i'm sorry that i didn't accept the status quo. accept my apologies for asking questions about doing things because 'that's the way they've always been done' and a bunch of random not-so-fine people merrily confess to having had/done all this stuff and 'turned out just fine'.

i apologize because:

my son has an Intact penis.
my children have not been vaccinated
they slept in bed us.
yes, we actually still all sleep in the same Room (grimace.)
i not only gave my children my own human milk but we also practiced 'extended' nursing.
reading and math? jeez no, sorry i am letting them play ... a lot! as much as they want. (kinda all the time really - double grimace)

and yes, sorry i homeschool.

no. that's a lie. i unschool. (holding my breath waiting for the attack...)

so. why so apologetic? i Do Not Know. is i that i feel bad for people who might be offended that i appear to be judging their choices because i made different ones?

why yes. yes, actually. that's it!

and while it's true that there was a time when i did judge people who didn't breastfeed (sorry!), or people who seemed to me to be making uninformed choices, or people who i thought were 'torturing' their children by sending them to a school they children obviously hate, or whatever. it's true. i did.

thankfully, however, i have let go of my need for rightness, superiority, better-than-you-ness. (bye-bye, complex!) (c'mon. cut me some slack here, i am admitting to some horrible things and admitting to letting them go!) .... (well, for the most part anyway)

processing this out loud now i am realising that i don't want people to think that my decision to do The Other; the strange; the completely un-thought-of, the rarely witnessed is not a way for me to say that i think their choices are bad. so who says it's that much about Me, anyway? you want to know what's Actually about me? stuff that's has to do with me. (NO!!!!) if people are walking away wondering what kind of commentary on their life my life is - that's about Them - Not Me. and they may need to wave goodbye to their complex too.

this means that i don't have to keep parenting in the closet. being sheepish about doing what i deeply believe to be good and right and true for my family. i can Unapologetically carry on staying home (rather, going OUT) with my children, having a blast, witnessing them grow into and out of their beings every day. maybe they won't be "normal" adults.

but neither am i. and i really like that about myself.

what's so great about 'normal' anyway (whatever the hell that is)?

actually, i know that i am equipping them to find their own way and to decide what is good for them. what kind of reality they will weave for themselves. what kind of normal or weird works best for them. even This is not about me. ...ultimately, anyway.

i'm turning the lights on and i'm saying out loud:

i am Different and i'm Proud!

(ahem... now i just gotta tell my parents what i really mean when i say i'm "home schooling").

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Of Carriages and Queens

The Highlight of our adventures last week was our downtown jaunt that began with a wish, was drawn by a horse and finished with a queen!  Deborah and I took Lauryn, Sage, Ryan and Grace to the Surrey Ride stand (after overcoming the parking obstacle) to hire ourselves our very first carriage!  It was an interesting experience just arranging the ride with a great deal of unknowing and vaguery.  Where do we stand?  Who's taking us? How much is it?  Just wait here.  A white horse is coming.  Find out the price from the driver.  15 minutes and a few new interesting-to-me-but-not-the-kids facts later - cha-ching! - 35 bucks!  But with those smiles, it was totally worth it!  They really loved being in a horse drawn carriage.  Even Ryan liked it (which is shocking considering the fact that it didn't involve home, computer use, or playing with his favorite pal, "Little Willy"). Afterwards we dragged them through town (woe is them) for some interesting sights and sounds.  We saw 'baby' lawyers celebrating their new lives as white wig and black robe wearing legal counsel.  We visited the Nassau Public Library (formerly known as the Nassau Gaol some one hundred years ago) and got a wonderful view from the top.  We counted out the eight sides of the octagonal building and, satisfied that they were right, we headed back down to earth from the towering three storey high edifice.  After that we even popped in for a visit with Grandma Sawyer at her place of work where the kids got to be the source of Gramma's Glowing Pride and Joy! After much adieu we made our way back toward our car but not without stopping by for a photo op with Queen Victoria who abolished (what does abolished mean, mom?) slavery in 1891.  (I didn't talk about slavery with her/them as they didn't ask and I wasn't ready to go there with them.)  But the picture with the queen who did away with something bad - that was cool!  (For our friends in foreign lands, the pink building in the background is the house of parliament where our elected officials do whatever it is they do - which doesn't seem to be too much.) All in all, with the visit to the Humane Society, Pool days, fun at Mr. Pretzel's, the Downtown Day Out and Halloween Pumpkin Carving and candy fun, it was a great week!  What'd we learn?  A thousand and one nameless things and much, Much more.